Coronavirus Refunds: Calif. Mandates Insurance Rebates; Wharton Students Want Money Back


The coronavirus pandemic is upsetting normal life the world over, and plenty of consumers want refunds on things that they paid for but aren't able to use. Here's a roundup of some coronavirus-related refunds that vendors are offering -- or consumers are demanding:

Insurance Premiums

California Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara mandated that insurance companies refund insurance premiums to companies and individuals that are impacted by the coronavirus crisis, according to a press release. The bulletin of the commission covers March and April premiums at a minimum in addition to the inclusion of May if “shelter in place” limitations remain in a minimum of six different insurance lines.

The commissioner’s bulletin makes insurance firms offer a premium credit, return of premium, decrease, or “other appropriate premium adjustment” as soon as feasible and before August. Lara had already asked for a grace period of a minimum of 60 days for holders of policies to make premium payments, so their plans aren't canceled because of a lack of payment.

“With Californians driving fewer miles and many businesses closed due to the COVID-19 emergency, consumers need relief from premiums that no longer reflect their present-day risk of accident or loss.” Lara said in a press release. “Today’s mandatory action will put money back in people’s pockets when they need it most.”

In Massachusetts, The Hanover Insurance Group says it will give back 15 percent of personal auto insurance premiums to clients who are eligible, The Worcester (Mass.) Business Journal reported. The company is one of the vehicle insurance firms throughout the country that is experiencing the rewards of a sizable decrease in travel because of stay-at-home mandates.

Hanover President and CEO John Roche said in an announcement, “We recognize our customers are feeling significant stress, including financial pressure, as a result of this pandemic.” The Hanover CARES Refund, for its part, will be in place for April and May premiums for holders of personal vehicle insurance policies.

The insurance firm is also extending personal auto coverage without a further fee for those who transport key products and is offering some flexibility with bill payments for clients who are encountering financial difficulty in addition to other crisis efforts. It will also contribute $500,000 to area charities aiming to fight the COVID-19 and its effect on the community.

University Room and Board

On another note, some institutions of higher education in North Carolina are starting to provide students with reimbursement for residential and dining services that were not utilized because of COVID-19, Carolina Public Press reported. The campuses of the University of North Carolina’s system, for instance, will offer partial refunds for housing as well as meals.

Elon University, in another case, will let undergrads who are on campus to ask for prorated credits when it comes to food and residential plan fees. And Duke University Executive Director of Media and Public Affairs Erin Kramer said per the report, “Duke is reimbursing students for any unused dining and housing credits.”

Universities have needed to move to online teaching when feasible from classes that had met in person because of COVID-19. North Carolina, for its part, has been subjected to a stay-at-home mandate as of March 30.

MBA Tuitions

In other news, students at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School and other top business schools around the world have asked for refunds on their tuition payments in the midst of online classes they say are not worth the high charges they paid to attend the educational institutions in person. Students are some schools noted that utilizing Zoom or other online platforms isn’t tantamount to being on campus studying.



The How We Shop Report, a PYMNTS collaboration with PayPal, aims to understand how consumers of all ages and incomes are shifting to shopping and paying online in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Our research builds on a series of studies conducted since March, surveying more than 16,000 consumers on how their shopping habits and payments preferences are changing as the crisis continues. This report focuses on our latest survey of 2,163 respondents and examines how their increased appetite for online commerce and digital touchless methods, such as QR codes, contactless cards and digital wallets, is poised to shape the post-pandemic economy.